Preparing to be a Head Coach in Basketball

Preparing to be a Head Coach in Basketball

Mark Vanderslice is the head men’s basketball coach at Louisburg College (NJCAA). He has been the head coach there since 2010. “Vanderslice brings a wealth of knowledge to Louisburg from his 11 years of men’s basketball college coaching experience, and 8 seasons at the Division I level.”


Are you ready to be a head coach in basketball? That’s the overriding question I had to ask myself when the time came for me to take on this new role. If the answer is yes, how organized are you going to be in order to effectively communicate your vision to the players, staff, and those involved with the program?

In the years leading up to my first head basketball coaching opportunity, I was constantly being shaped and molded through the different experiences and philosophies I was exposed to. When the time came, I decided to transfer my thoughts onto paper as a reference point. This enabled me to clearly define my own objectives in each area of coaching.

Although each head coaching position brings its own set of circumstances and challenges, one must again ask themselves, “Am I ready?” If so, “Am I prepared to communicate my vision?”

This basketball coaching article will focus on a few primary categories I would encourage you to keep in mind (but not limited to) when analyzing your own personal basketball coaching style.



Basketball Program’s Culture

One of the first things any new basketball coaching staff that has been hired should do is to introduce the culture and the expectations of how things will be operated. It is the defining personality and makeup of any team and should be communicated clearly and regularly to instill habitual reminders.

The results from these practices will cultivate a certain level of confidence so that each individual will know that they deserve success.



Basketball Team Goals

To know how to get somewhere, you must first know where you are going! Having a vision and goals set for your basketball program is a crucial element to its success. Goals must be clear and concise to the entire program on a consistent basis. There is no cookie-cutter image that says you must have a certain type of vision in mind. Yet, they should be set accordingly with the understanding that there are positives and negatives that go along with setting them too high or too low.

Each year you should set new ones for yourselves personally and as a basketball team. Make no mistake, your visions should be elevated, and expectations great! As a basketball team, you should set the bar to a level of excellence that can only be achieved through a team effort.



Basketball Team Identity

Along with setting goals, you must also clearly define what it will make your basketball team special. What are you going to be good at? What are you going to hold your hat on? Every team needs to believe in something. It is what gives that team a swagger and confidence.

When things are going good or bad, you should not stray from your identity because it makes you who you are. It might not clearly be seen right away. It will take time to instill, and this is why everyone must understand the importance of your team goals. Consistency and persistence will stand the test of time. Keep your team identity down to 3 or 4 concepts.



Offensive and Defensive Basketball Philosophy

Your basketball coaching philosophy should be consistent with your overall team identity. What are you going to run offensively? What about defensively? Are you going to have the surprise and change school of thought, or are you of the simplicity and execution mindset? Whatever it might be, BE SPECIFIC! Above all, be prepared to communicate your ideals clearly and with confidence!


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One Response

  1. Great message. Waiting for the opportunity as a head coach at the (girls) high school level. Have put a lot of the same thoughts on paper. Again, thanks.

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